How close Chelsea got to completing transfer for £28.8m Arsenal star backed for Ballon d’Or win

The Blues elected to sign the Leicester City defender for a considerable fee back in the summer of 2020 but one Chelsea icon wanted to see them make a move for Arsenal’s Scottish defender

Former Chelsea star Pat Nevin has revealed that he urged Chelsea to make a move for Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney back in 2018. Then of Celtic, the Scottish defender was starring north of the border and was strongly linked with a switch to the Premier League.

He eventually did end up making a switch but joined the Gunners instead. Despite a string of injury worries, Tierney has impressed at the Emirates Stadium having accumulated 87 appearances over the last two-and-a-half seasons. Known as a tenacious defender ahead of his arrival, it is his attacking output that has caught the eye, with 16 goal involvements in all.

That is a rate of productivity that Ben Chilwell has more than managed to match in his time as a Chelsea player since his £50m move from Leicester City. In far fewer games than Tierney, the England defender already has 15 goal involvements to his name at Stamford Bridge.

Regardless, Nevin has said that he suggested that the Blues make a move for the Scot instead of pursuing Chilwell.

Speaking with The Glasgow Times, he said: “I tried to get Chelsea to buy him four years ago but they didn’t listen and ended up signing Ben Chilwell from Leicester City for twice as much as Kieran would have cost them.”

Tierney of course eventually made the switch to London as Arsenal sealed a £25m deal for his services with Celtic ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. He won the FA Cup in his first season as a Gunner, whilst he is well on the way to helping Mikel Arteta ’s men back into the Champions League for next term.

It has not been suggested that the Blues were ever interested in pursuing a move, but It could well be argued that the Blues did not miss out by choosing not to pursue the five-time Scottish champion over Chilwell. Nevin, though, believes that Tierney could go on to scoop one of the most prestigious personal accolades in world football.

He continued: “Kieran is already one of the best footballers on the planet. He’s more than comfortable in the Premier League, which means he could play anywhere.

“I genuinely believe he can go on to win the Ballon d’Or. Only one defender – Fabio Cannavarro, who captained the Italian World Cup-winning side in 2006 – has ever won that prize but it’s not impossible for KT to emulate him.”